One of the biggest storylines of the 2016 off-season is going to revolve around Tony Romo and what the Dallas Cowboys will do with him. Conventional wisdom is that Tony will either be traded or released at some point. With Dak Prescott turning in a rookie season that will long be remembered, and Romo still being one of the top passers in the game, it just does not make much sense to have both men on the same roster. The difference in age dictates that #9 would be the one to be sent packing.
It does not have to be that way.
There are potential drawbacks to keeping both men on the roster; Dak and Tony both feel that they should be the one out on the field playing and both would have teammates that would support their beliefs. The delicate thing called chemistry could be disrupted. There would have to be a clearly decided 1-2 pecking order. That would be dictated from the offensive coaching staff, and they have decided on Prescott.
Having two ‘starters’ would also provide fuel for the media to generate controversy. Let the younger quarterback turn in a couple of bad games and there would be immediate calls for Romo’s return. Strangely, that is not much different from how Dallas QBs are covered in any case.
Once we move beyond those issues there is no reason that the Dallas Cowboys could not have both men on the roster. Should the team not receive an offer that is appealing to them during the offseason, they can keep both men on the team. This was the plan when Prescott was selected less than a season ago. The numbers have not changed. They have only been reversed. Romo may be expensive, but thanks to his draft position Dak is a bargain. Insurance can get expensive at times but it is also nice to have when the chips are down.
Dallas took this same position in dealing with the situation of Ronald Leary. The player, team, and fans all knew that Leary was good enough to start most places around the league, but La’el Collins was thought of as the future with tremendous upside. The team was able to afford six starting caliber offensive linemen on the roster and in lieu of an offer they found tempting, the Cowboys brain trust chose to keep the guard around. When Collins tore a ligament in his toe, Leary stepped in.
The situations are similar. There are similar egos involved, and Tony Romo is going to want to play. So did Leary. Eventually the third guard in Dallas got his chance and he played a critical role in the Cowboys success this season.
It would take effort on the part of everyone involved to make things work. Jason Garrett has assembled the type of locker room atmosphere to where the team could play through a quarterback controversy and Tony Romo had proven that his is a consummate professional who could handle the situation if he finds himself as the Cowboys backup in 2017. Let the team keep winning and 99% of the questions will work themselves out.
I am not saying that this will happen, I expect Romo will be wearing other colors this fall, but the ball is really in Jerry Jones court. It is all up to him whether he serves or not. The Cowboys hand will not be forced.